Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette

Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette swatch medium dark skin
Smashbox Medium-Dark Cali Contour Palette

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Smashbox quietly released this medium-dark version of their popular Cali Contour palette** sometime back in 2020 (?). I say quietly because I don’t think there was any sort of marketing letting people know they had created this new shade variation. I was searching for a review of this palette for the longest time with no luck. I was surprised that they didn’t try to hype this up more considering all of the valid complaints companies have been getting about shade ranges lacking inclusive options. Anyway, I broke down and got it because I continued to hear lighter skin tones rave about the original light medium shade and finally had to see for myself if it was good.

  • Top row, left to right: warm contour, shimmer gold, cinnamon matte
  • Bottom row, left to right: banana matte, apricot shimmer, coco rojo
Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette swatches medium dark skin
Smashbox Medium-Dark Cali Contour Palette

I like the formulas of warm contour (top left) and cinnamon matte (top right) the best. These two shades do not have as much powder kick up as the rest of the palette, they blend well, and the tones both look good on my skin tone. The warm contour is not dusty, but I would describe it as a dry formula. The warm contour is also very pigmented so I have to be careful with it, but I do not think it is hard to work with. The cinnamon matte is the creamiest formula in the palette and the color works for me as a bronzer without the need to be careful.

Speaking of bronzer, according to the box cocoa rojo (bottom right) is actually supposed to be the bronzer shade but I tested it as a blush shade without realizing it. Cocoa Rojo is very powdery and at first, it looks very dry on my skin. It does settle in more after about 20 minutes but I still don’t like how dry the formula looks on me.

Banana matte (bottom left) is not as brightening on me as the MAC Soft Focus shaping powder (click here for swatches), but it worked well under my eyes. Just like with cocoa rojo, the powder looks dry at first but settles into a better finish. It is still matte but it is not as dry looking and it looks better than cocoa rojo on my skin. It does have some powder kick up, but it is more manageable than cocoa rojo.

Neither of the shimmer highlighters worked well for me. Shimmer gold (top middle) is a smooth formula but it is too dark for my skin tone to see any impact. It basically just disappears into my skin tone. Apricot shimmer (bottom middle) is a mica heavy formula with a lot of powder that picks up on the brush. Once blended into my skin, all I can really see is the mica/shimmer particles, which makes it look dry. I do wonder if these would work better on a darker skin tone where the base colors might show up more.

Smashbox Cali Contour Palette in Medium/Dark, $43.00**

  • Top row, left to right: warm contour, shimmer gold, cinnamon matte
  • Bottom row, left to right: banana matte, apricot shimmer, coco rojo
Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette swatches medium dark skin
Smashbox Medium-Dark Cali Contour Palette

The Cali Contour palette comes in two variations (light medium and medium dark) and retails for $43.00.**

Overall, this was not a great purchase for me. I always know going into a palette purchase that all of the shades are not going to work out for everyone. Unfortunately with this palette the formulas still seem to be an issue for me even if the colors worked better. There are better formulas on the market for sure. Are they all available in one palette for $43.00? That will definitely be harder to accomplish. If you already have a face palette you enjoy, this one won’t likely take its place. If you have been looking for an all-in-one face palette and have normal to oily skin, I think this could possibly work better for you than it did for me. If you have more oil production you may be able to get these powders to actually melt into your skin’s natural oils. As someone with dry skin, I don’t have extra oil to spare.

So, I can’t necessarily recommend this palette, but I can appreciate that it may work better for an oilier skin type than mine.

Have you tried the Smashbox Cali Contour Palette in either color variation? Let us know your skin tone and skin type in the comments below. Maybe we can figure out if skin type makes a difference here or if it is just a pass.

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3 thoughts on “Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I just gifted the original palette. I loved it but it was a little too late and I kept wishing that they had one for deeper skin tone. I had no idea they came out with this and I think they came out with it maybe a few months after I was gifted mine. appreciate you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem! Thank you for your comment. The brand should definitely be doing a better job advertising this palette. If you were thinking of buying it soon, the Smashbox website has it on sale for $24 right now.


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